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There seems to have been a genre of wartime musicals of which i have been unaware.This consists of a well known star or band not,for some reason being drafted,and going to work,anonymous in a war factory.Then giving a show to sell war bonds.This one stars Allen Jones who by the time this film was made has clearly lost some of his drawing power at the box office have dropped from MGM big budget musicals to Universal B musicals.Given that the copy i watched was only 61 minutes long it is clear that this was meant for the bottom of a double bill.This film has not been on TV and is never likely to be shown at the NFT!Given that this is a very cheerful and engaging musical i can only give thanks to the Internet at my having been given a chance to obtain a copy.Maybe i should lend it to the BFI for further use!
Allan Jones had come a long way down from doing such classic films as
The Firefly, Showboat, and The Boys From Syracuse. His type of film was
not being made any more, so Jones was reduced to starring in films that
were quite beneath his talents. Sing A Jingle, a B picture musical from
Universal where he was signed at the time came towards the tail end of
his Hollywood career.
Sing A Jingle is one terribly dated World War II era musical in which Jones is a radio singer giving his last broadcast before going in the army. Except that manager Jerome Cowan has withheld a telegram from him that the army has classified him 4-F because of a trick knee. Of course he's now embarrassed as all get out and his decision is to go into obscurity, let everyone think he is in the army and he'll take a job at a war plant under his real name.
As luck and the movies have it Jones and pal Gus Schilling wind up working for beneficent employer Samuel S. Hinds. They even wind up living with him as there is a housing shortage for all the new men at the plant and Jones falls for daughter June Vincent.
After that the film becomes an excuse to hang a lot of musical numbers into the story because Hinds discovers besides Jones there's other talent around, enough for a bond show. Even Schilling gets something going on the side with Betty Kean the switchboard operator.
It looked like Universal was trying to make a civilian version of Buck Privates in Sing A Jingle. The men and women of the plant put in their hours and then just relax at the show and other diversions generously provided by Hinds because there's a war on. There's also an element of that other Abbott&Costello Universal classic In the Navy where Dick Powell is a radio singer escaping into obscurity ot trying to.
What's good and not dated about this film is Allan Jones's singing. He gets two good numbers interpolated into the score, The Night We Called It A Day which Frank Sinatra later made a classic Capitol recording of and Beautiful Love. Classic movie fans probably didn't know that this song had words to it, it is prominently featured as instrumental background in The Mummy where it is the theme for Boris Karloff's love for his Egyptian princess. Jones is just terrific in singing both of these songs.
But unless you're a big fan of Allan Jones as I am, I doubt you'll want to see Sing A Jingle.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite the presence of Allan Jones, this one is little more than an
average little war-time propaganda musical. To say that the script is
indifferent would be kind-hearted.
Director Edward Lilley's only claim to fame here (beyond a brief spot on-screen) is that he obviously likes to end each scene with a punch- line before the fade-out or dissolve. Unfortunately, the punch-line invariably lacks punch, and Mr. Lilley's obvious attempts to draw attention to it makes it even less worthy of attention. Although, Mr. Jones is certainly in good voice, the musical numbers are almost totally undistinguished.
Never mind! At least production credits are smooth and the support cast capable.
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